Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 049 How Do We Love Christ

Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 049 How Do We Love Christ

Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #049 – How Do We Love Christ?

Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to grow in Jesus together. I am blessed to be back with you to discuss more ways to live with eternal perspective.

Have you increasingly felt the love of Jesus in the last few podcast episodes as we prepare our hearts for Him this season? If so, I know without a doubt that it is nothing I said or did. Deepening awareness of and increasing love for Christ simply comes from time in His word and moments invested in speaking to and listening for Him.

1 Corinthians 8:6 says, “But for us, There is one God, the Father, by whom all things were created, and for whom we live. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created, and through whom we live.”

As we move closer to the Father and the Son, we experience life-changing transformations. A personal relationship with Jesus is the source.

It has been astounding to witness the goodness of God in the transformation of our youngest. When we brought Brooklyn home from China five years ago, she was understandably a frightened girl who had no idea what was in her future. When we talk about the time now, she admits her fear. Our treasured daughter had lived in an orphanage most of her life and was placed in a foster home for less than a year (from what we can piece together) before we brought her home. I’ve heard much about what she experienced in both places, but because I crave every detail available; I cannot ever hear enough history. We lived without our youngest daughter for too long, and I yearn to fill the holes in her precious story to uncover everything she endured and braved.

Since that is impossible, I must rest in the truth that although she was treated, and felt as though she was a forgotten one who did not matter in China, she was actually never alone. Before Brooklyn knew Him, God was already watching over her.

Our Heavenly Father does the same for you and me.

Matthew 10:29-31 says, “What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”

The Lord has a love for us that is so deep He even knows the number of hairs on our head.

As much as I love each of my family members, I cannot record in my brain or understand every minuscule feature about them. Honestly, can you imagine how difficult it would be to remember that much information about everyone? Not just remember, but even cherish the details so deeply that they sit on your tongue and abide in your heart to recite and obtain at any moment? That fact that we don’t have that capacity doesn’t diminish our love or affection for the special people in our lives; it just shows how tiny and worthless our mind and abilities are in comparison to God’s omnipotence and wisdom.

Beyond the personal way God recalls everything about us, He planned for us and tailor-made each of those details in beautiful and unique ways that is never duplicated in another individual.

Nehemiah 9:6 says, “You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.”

How high God’s love is, for He, the author and perfecter of love, is supremely higher than each of us.

Romans 12:3 says, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”

Thank you, God for planning me. For crafting each of us. Your fastidiousness and devotion to us are fathomless. Boundless is your love.

Love.

Many ponder the meaning of such a small word. Our culture carries many confusing and warped definitions of this simple, yet profoundly important word. So, let’s examine love.

1. What is love?

Our Lord beautifully offers living examples and definitions of love in the Bible and through His life on earth and in Heaven.

In this world, the meanings of love point to the following: a profoundly tender, deep, or passionate affection for another person, a feeling of personal attachment for a parent, child, or friend, to have a strong liking for or to take great pleasure in something.

God’s definition of love is not built or based on the wisdom, values, morals, or agenda of our culture or human belief systems. God defines true love because He is love. God was love before we knew love existed in any form.

In John 15:9, Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”

Love for our Heavenly Father and for one another is not an option when we follow Jesus. It is only through Jesus that we see and experience love in action.

Most people have heard John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Sometimes it is quoted so much that I think many people have stopped paying attention to the promise and eternal value in these powerful words, yet they prove God’s plan for the world with the most spectacular sacrifice and gift that could ever be bestowed.

Less quoted, but just as powerful and central in the study of God’s love for mankind is Romans 5:8, which says, “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

This is authentic, eternal love.

Our society has a difficult time distinguishing love, yet it waits for us. He waits for us.

2. How do we recognize love?

John 13:34 says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

We only begin to view and accept love as Christ does when we clearly see, know, and follow Jesus.
1 John 4:16 says, “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

The way the world sees Christ is through us – His followers.

3. How is love described?

Luke 6:32 says, "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.”

Jesus extracts impurities from within us; sometimes easily, often painfully. Yet, He never leaves our side. Jesus walks through the fires with us, replacing what we lose with qualities we can only receive from the Spirit. Because of His refining, we are continually becoming new creations and “take-on” the qualities of our Lord. Our behavior reveals the nature of our relationship with Jesus.

Changed by His love, we are able to love others differently and in visibly Christ-centered ways.

1 John 4:16 says, “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

Our actions expose our heart.

1 John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

One of the passages in the Bible most widely connected with love is 1 Corinthians 13, which is an entire chapter expressing biblical love in multiple ways: modeling grace, virtue, faith, joy, patience, kindness, humility, forgiveness, truth, perseverance, assurance, hope, and God’s agape love.

1 Corinthians 13 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

4. Where do we learn love?

The Trinity reveals perfect love: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God."

Matthew 22:36-40 says, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

1 Peter 1:22 says, “You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.”

1 John 4:12 says, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

5. How can we show our love for God?

Jesus modeled perfect love, expressing His love for the Father in a way we can all replicate.

Obedience.

Like you may have experienced in your own life, obedience has the been key to fulfilling joy in my life and in deepening my walk with Jesus. When I keep my gaze and heart set on the Lord, my reliance on Him grows, my relationship matures, and listening and obeying when and where He calls becomes easier and is such a desire for me. Through this, I have experienced the most profound blessings - deeper than I could ever imagine.

Obedience is costly, uncomfortable, and inconvenient. God continues to call us into deeper waters than we have previously tested. He requires reliance on, and obedience in Him. For good reason. Our life is meaningless and empty without Him. Fully expressed love from a believer to God’s heart is exhibited when we fix our thoughts on Him and move without question where He calls.

Obedience to God brings us fullness of life and love.

Luke 1:26-38 says, “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.”

Don’t you adore these verses?!
This is one of my very favorite stories and responses in the Bible. Examine the heart, faith, and simple, prompt response of Mary. I want a heart that always follows exactly where God leads, exactly when He requests, and exactly how He desires me to move.
Mary exemplified obedient love in action.

1 John 5:1-3 says, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves His child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out His commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome.”

When we love God, and the Holy Spirit is alive and active inside us, obedience becomes a pleasurable, desirable source of peace.

Jesus remained steadfast; modeling obedient love, bidding us to imitate His actions.

John 15:10 says, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”

Luke 6:46-49 says, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears My words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Don’t wait for hardships and tragedies to force you to follow the Lord. Let obedient love guide and rule your life.

John 15:9-17 says, “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are My friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in My name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.”

Jesus already expressed obedient love to the fullest degree with the largest sacrifice one could make. Beseeching us to love and follow His commands, Jesus tells us that by doing so, we will abide in His love, carry His joy, and bear fruit that will last.

Because He loves us so deeply, He commands us to love each other.

The Bible tells us that three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Dear Jesus, thank you for modeling love with the greatest act of obedience the world has recorded. Your passionate and unfailing love is a template for us. We fall so short, Lord. Help us to abide in Your perfect love that casts out all fear and enable us to obediently follow where You call with a passion that never becomes a burden, yet is a joyful delight for us and for You. Amen.

Thank you for listening to this episode. The Live With Eternal Perspective podcast is currently linked to my new website at terrihitt.com, where you can access all the podcasts housed in one convenient location, as well as receive access to blog posts, transcripts, and additional free resources that are added to regularly.
I pray this podcast draws you nearer to Jesus and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up and find new ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.